A/n: A Luke centric fic focusing on his life after his memory loss. A little pregame story that's been rattling around in my head with spoilers implied throughout.

Hard Lessons

"Hold the blade steady." When the student moved to comply a half smile graced the bearded speaker's face. "Yes, just like that."

The voice always mused to itself, even when the large man who owned it addressed another, a smile curled at the corner of his lips, and without knowing why he indulged in it. They'd been friends; the owner of the rumbly voice had assured him.

Close? He'd dared asked, some unspoken need so keen in him it bordered on hunger. Need had leeched both volume and confidence from his tone.

"I was your teacher, you were my pupil. We were as close as that bond allowed."

There wasn't a cloud in the sky today. The suns' light poured down from the heavens, caught the glittering edges of the sky rocks, and rained down in a colorless color bearing wave of head. Light, said his other masters –the boring ones that sat in musty rooms and made him sit there with him as they prattled on and on- was like that. It was a "natural ph-en-om-in-om" that made seeing possible.

All in all it sounded like nonsense. Still, the tall pretty red haired woman who hugged and kissed him even when he was sick said that teachers were important. He had to learn. So he said nothing when the boring teachers went on and on and when the nice red haired woman –Mother, they told him to call her- asked how class was going he managed a "fine" just for her.

He'd learned to smile when he said "fine", and was rewarded for his efforts. His smile always made her smile, and her eyes that were so much like his, -a living, breathing, spring green- light up from within…

"Bring the point down, hold the weapon so that the length of the blade covers as much of you as possible."

"Yes… sir."


He turned, forgetting his teacher and required pose to glare at the questioner. Clad in dun brown the blonde servant grinned at the red haired child's scrutiny. The servant was a long limbed, quiet person, with a ready grin and even more ready laugh. Right now he was laughing, more of a chuckle really. Still it was enough to fray the student's temper.

"What's so funny?"

Startled out of his good humor by the boy's vehemence the blond –in the glaring hot sun light it was more of a gold color than anything else but they kept telling him to call it blonde- raised his hands in mock surrender.

"Whoa! Easy Luke, I just never thought I'd hear you call Van, sir, that's all."

A thousand thoughts and emotions burst into being in the confines of his skull. They solidified into a morass of questions…

Were we that close?

Why not call him "sir"?

I've seen you call everyone else that.

Did I mess up again?

…that gummed up in the back of his throat…

It all came out as a half choked cough. Thoughtfully running a hand through his gold-blond locks the servant said nothing. He stared though, his blue eyes narrowed a hair as he thought.

"You're looking a little worn Luke. Wanna pick this up later?"

"Now really Guy," the man named Van chided, "you're getting as bad as his mother."

Feeling something too warm and soft to be anger, but too hot to be anything else, Luke jumped to the blond man's defense.

"No he's not!"

Raising an eyebrow Van said nothing, but he did take Luke's wooden sword from him and suggest they head in. A good thing he did too, because the young red head had just remembered his last teacher had mentioned that wood floated. Not liking the eager gleam to the child's eyes and the quick glance at the reflecting pools Van's speed in retrieving the weapon spared the sword a damaging bath.

Miffed that he no longer had wood to check the whole wood floats thingy the boy they kept calling Luke sighed.

"He's got a check up with a c-r-a-n-i-u-m specialist, anyways."

"Oh?" Van's eyebrow rose a mite higher to convey his surprise.

"Yep, and during a c-h-e-c-k-u-p they look him over real carefully."

Sounding a bit test the brown haired master let out a low growl of impatience.

Hastening to clarify Guy cast the man they called Commandant a wry smile. "You don't want to be in Kimlasca if Madam Fabre thinks you were the cause of even one bruise. She'd hunt you down to the corners of the country to chew you out over hurting her son."

"I'm not scared of a noble woman." Van snorted. "Unlike others I could name."

Promising himself he'd remember the laughy servant's name Luke watched with amusement as Van laughed and Guy turned a brighter shade of red. Checking his laugh, dimming it down to a smile, the white clad man clasped the gold-blonde servant's shoulder.

"Someday your fear will be worn away and we'll share a rueful chuckle over opportunities lost."

"I'm holding you to that." Guy grumbled.

"I'll do better, I'll buy drinks on that eve and we'll make an evening's sport of it."

Not understanding all the adult talk, the boy they called Luke yawned loudly and shuffled his feet. Seeing his charge was almost board to sleep whilst standing Guy gave a funny two fingers touch above the eye and jerk away kind of wave. Obviously the funny wave served as some sort of farewell, Van seemed to take it as that. The white clad man didn't leave or anything but he seemed to stop looking at them. He turned away and looked at something else, like they weren't even there anymore.

"Come on Luke. Wanna go outside today?"

You're Guy, they're going to ask me that and I'll be able to tell them that. The doctors are going to sit me on a stool, like the teachers do, but instead of books with words it's going to be books with pictures.

And they're going to ask me who you are, and who is she, and about this and that….

And I'll get it righter. I have too, or the pretty woman with my eyes, she'll cry. She shouldn't have to cry, I still don't know why she cries at all. It must hurt so much, she's so sick and pale sometimes, she shouldn't have to cry.

But she will if I get it wrong, so I have to get it all right today.

Guy offered his hand, and Luke took it, knowing that if he really was going to go "outside" today he'd need to get all the help that he could get.

"We're not going to be going through the city or anything. Just down the street and round the corner. You're really lucky you know. The doctor's coming to you rather then you having to take a long trip and Belkend and all. There's nothing for you to be worried about, so you don't need to hold my hand all death tight like that…"

Sheepishly Luke lightened his grip a little. But he didn't let go, he was scared that if he did he'd be swept away.